Sunday, November 29, 2015

Colonia, Uruguay

Colonia del Sacramento is a wonderful colonial city on the waters of Rio Plata just across from Buenos Aires. This is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. In fact, as I am typing this entry, I am listening to a guitarist play wonderful tango music behind me while an older couple could not resist the romantic tunes and started dancing next to me. In front of me is, a view of Rio Plata with its cool breezes blowing on my shade covered face. These are the moments that time forgot, or will never let you forget. Either way the jazzy beat of the music creates a dreamy landscape of a bygone era. The only thing missing here are my girls.

The outdoor cafe is life here.

A view towards the pier.

Boats in the Rio Plata's brown waters.

Two fish driving a car :)

Beautiful colors

Lazy days in the pedestrian friendly area.

Restaurants getting ready for the lunch rush.

The historic entrance to the city.

Beautiful homes set among the gardens.

Delightful colors on wonderful buildings.

This is a very special place indeed.

Elegant charm abounds in the city.

The art gallery is lucky to enjoy the shade of a tree.

Bougainvillea make the walls extra colorful.

Dining under the church in the afternoon is so nice.

Like it has been for a hundred years.

The lighthouse is a gathering point
I loved the outdoor cafes in the town.

Down the cobblestone to Rio Plata.

Wonderful little boutiques for browsing and shopping.

The colors of old town remind me of Cartagena, Colombia but not as warm.


Mercedes, Uruguay

I was able to cross the international bridge into Uruguay and made a stop in the small town of Mercedes for the night. The town was ideal in every way, my wife joked with me prior to flying home saying, "Watch, Uruguay is going to be gorgeous and I left just before seeing it." Well, she was right, Uruguay is gorgeous and such a quaint clean country. I guess she and the kids will have to fly back one day to check it out. For anyone interested in visiting an "Easier" South American country, this is it. It is safe, clean and the people are wonderful why not come down for visit. I have to say though, it is not cheap here. In fact, I hear Uruguay is the most expensive country in South America and with gas at $6 a gallon I can hardly argue.

Walk-able little downtown centers are awesome.

Town squares are clean and the aroma of flowers is everywhere.

Not a lot of traffic when gas is $6 a gallon.

You could literally buy all you need by walking around the block here.

It looked like Kansas here except for the palms :)

The wildflowers are reminiscent of Texas

They have tree lined highways here just because they are beautiful. Pretty cool, huh?

Water is abundant in Uruguay as the elevation is less than 350 above sea level.

This would have been a perfect place to enjoy the river with my wife.

Back to Argentina

This is Mike...
Elise and the girls are safely back home so I drove through central Argentina, crossing their version of our Midwest. Ag land everywhere, wheat, corn, cows, you name it Central Argentina has it. After two and a half long days of driving I crossed the Agricultural belt with lots of bugs on the windshield, a nail in the tire, I still made it in one piece. It was raining so hard in San Luis, where I stayed for the night, I thought the town was going to wash away. The thunder and lightening of the evening were amazing and punctuated already deep sadness I was feeling after seeing my girls fly off in the magnificent sunshine of Chile. It wasn't all bad though, as I received a call from my wife and kids saying they are having a wonderful time with the neighbors, of whom, were very happy to see them again.
   It's just not the same seeing the sights without the kids eyes glowing and my wife's subtle smile. I know it will get easier, but for now, instead of 4 souls 1 dream it feels more like one hairy dude in a truck. I am looking forward to seeing new things though. It will get easier and after I sell the truck I can go home and see what the future will bring. I am so blessed to have a family that wants to be with me, wants to do things with me. I know the teenage years are coming and I will eventually be as popular as the plague but until then I am enjoying this without end.

The colors of the Andes are amazing.

The snow capped mountains from the Argentine side of the Andes

Protesters closed down the highway near Mendoza which is always appreciated by the commuters.

The rain filled the streets in San Luis.

Wide open spaces and agricultural land for 1,000 kilometers.

Ranch land was abundant in Argentina.

The grounds were soggy wetlands the closer to Buenos Aires I drove.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A special treat for the girls

This is Mike...
The girls have decided to fly home and I will continue on to Uruguay by myself to try and sell the car. Since Elise and the girls were flying first class back to the states I wanted them to look their very best so I arranged for the three of them to have their hair styled at Santiago's best Salon, Saloon2, just before their flight. Sierra and Zoe were so animated and visibly happy during their stylings that I wish I would have done this earlier for them. Elise was an old pro and knew what to expect and she even enjoyed it. I guess a half hour scalp massage and shampooing before a cut and style is a good thing.

That is the look of relaxation.

After the shampooing and scalp massage Sierra went to her chair.

A young lady and her salon treatment.

The finished look.

Zoe was relaxed and enjoyed the scrubbing.

There was a DJ playing house music at the salon.


The finished product.

Last to have her hair cut was Elise, the girls hung out with her and had a nice chat.

Never let your guard down

This is Mike...
We love Santiago and as a result we let our guard down and started to use our credit card instead of paying cash like we have been doing all along. We normally would go to an ATM and withdraw our anticipated amount. Our credit card was compromised after only two uses in Santiago, now looking back on it we think the Thai restaurant did it. Those aren't good odds, to use a card twice and have it compromised once. Anyway, just a reminder not to let your guard down no matter how nice something is.

Museo Interactivo Mirador

This is Mike...
We took the kids to the Museo Interactivo Mirador so they could blow off some steam and see how things work. The kids played with bubbles, studied anatomy, made music and so much more. The Museum was packed with local children learning about science. Some of the Chilean kids were enamored with our girls hair and hung out with us for a while. If you are in the area it is a cheap and easy day for the kids and it is easily accessible with the subway system. There is a 10 to 15 minute walk once off the train system but nothing strenuous.

The subway system is clean and efficient.

We promised to take the kids on their first subway ride while we were in Santiago.

A grand piano for the kids.

Sierra was wrapped by a bubble and she loved it.

Zoe loved being inside a bubble which was able to close all the way round her.

This was the engineering section of the museum.